In the dead heat of the Texas summer, there's nothing better than sipping an ice-cold beer with friends while floating along one of Central Texas' lazy rivers. A short 45-minute drive from the heart of San Antonio, the Guadalupe, Comal, San Marcos and Frio rivers offer the perfect blend of refreshing relaxation on an otherwise oppressively hot summer day.
For a short float trip, hit the Comal River in New Braunfels, where you'll find a handful of tubing companies that offer floating trips, such as Comal Tubes, Landa Falls and Texas Tubes. The Comal, a wide, spring-fed river that clocks in at about 70-degrees, flows for about 2.5 miles before connecting with the Guadalupe River.
The Guadalupe, the most popular of all the nearby rivers, features both slow, easy floating as well as a few quicker rapids. If you have a day off from work during the week, or if you're on summer break between college semesters, head out in the early or middle part of the week to avoid the crowds. If you're looking for a long afternoon of fun, float the entire river from the Horseshoe Loop to the Chute, which should take four to six hours.
The San Marcos and Frio rivers are also nearby, albeit a bit shorter than the Guadalupe. Enjoy these wide, cool rivers of clean water for a more secluded and less crowded experience.
Visit tubetexas.com for the most up-to-date list of outfitters in the New Braunfels area and nearby that rent out tubes, give you easy access to the water and shuttle you back to your car when you're done. Most charge between $15 and $20 per tube, and don't forget to rent a tube for your cooler of water and beer, as you'll need something to secure it to when you pick up speed on those slightly rougher rapids. Pack plenty of sunscreen and a hat, and a word to the wise: Don't wear a pair of sunglasses that you're emotionally attached to in case you flip your tube and those puppies go flying.
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